Tips for Easy-Care Roses
Seven Steps for Disease-Free Roses
Keeping roses disease-free is easier than you might think. Growers at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, California know a thing or two about that. They've had one garden devoted exclusively to All-American Rose selections since 1940. Here are their secrets to keeping roses disease-free:
- Shop smart. Start with newer varieties that are disease-resistant.
- Provide good air circulation with roses.
- Spray plants with water each morning to minimize mildew problems.
- Fertilize with compost, worm castings or kelp rather than chemical products. If you must treat for bugs or fungal disease, choose an organic product like Rose Protector.
- Keep it clean! Pick up leaves and petals as soon as they fall.
- Remove infected leaves at the first sign of rust.
- Apply dormant spray after late-winter pruning.
A Few More Rose Tips:
Roses are available as bare-root plants or in containers. It's best to plant bare-root roses in spring while the plant is still dormant—and after you've soaked the roots overnight. Container plants can go in the ground anytime.
Make the planting hole twice as large as the roots. To avoid disturbing the roots of container plants, cut away the pot rather than simply pulling out the rose.
Many roses are grafted. The bud graft is easy to spot—it's the swollen knob with branches sprouting from it. In areas with mild winters, plant the bud graft of your rose at ground level. In colder climates, where temperatures may dip below freezing, plant it 1 to 2 inches below the soil surface.
If using a rose cone to overwinter your plant, increase your odds by pruning your rose just enough to fit under the cone after a week of freezing temperatures. Mound soil over the plant's base and cover with the cone. Put more soil around the base of the cone—this will keep the cone in place and rodents out. Place a stone or brick on top of the cone to anchor it. Cut a vent into the side, away from the prevailing winds. This will allow the hot air to escape during sunny winter days.
Remove the cone in late winter or early spring when the temperatures start hovering around freezing. Allow the soil to gradually wash away with the spring rains.